Most Pakistanis want madrassas reformed: USIP poll

January 8th, 2008 - 1:40 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto

Washington , Jan 8 (ANI): A majority of the Pakistani supports government reform of madrassas, which are being blamed for the spread of Islamist militancy.

Funded by the US Institute of Peace (USIP), the poll, which was released about six weeks before the February 18 polls, shows 64 per cent of Pakistanis wanting madrassas to be reformed by the government.

Pakistanis want their country to be a democratic Islamic state, but are deeply distrustful of the United States and its war on terrorism.

The results also show that Pakistanis see democracy as fully compatible with Islam. Democracy ranked especially high among 60 per cent of the respondents who wanted Muslim-based laws to play a larger role in legal affairs of Pakistan .

Three in five said the activities of Al Qaeda, Taliban, and Pakistani Islamist militant groups were a threat to Pakistan s vital interests. However, a significant 14 to 18 per cent do not view these groups as a threat to Pakistan .

Eighty-one percent say it is important for Pakistan to protect the religious minorities.

Steven Kull, director of said: It shows there is no major Western-oriented secular sub-group in Pakistan . People want more Islam. They dont think Pakistan is pious enough or that Islamic values are adequately expressed in daily life.

The poll was undertaken in Pakistan before the declaration of a state of emergency on November 3, 2007 and the December 27, 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto. (ANI)

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